Gay rights leader won’t vote for an Obama/Nunn ticket

The leader of the state’s largest gay rights organization and a Clinton delegate to next week’s Democratic National Convention says that the nomination of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) for Vice President would stop him from voting for Barack Obama.

“If Barack Obama were to choose Sam Nunn as his running mate, the highest placed office on the ballot for which I would cast a vote would be U.S. Senate,” said Garden State Equality Chairman Steven Goldstein, who will attend the Democratic National Convention in Denver next week.

Nunn’s name has been floated as a potential running mate for Democratic candidates during most elections over the last two decades, and while this year is no exception, he’s not considered a likely pick. Still, some Democrats see the “moderate-to-conservative” Nunn, who left office in 1997, as a way to appeal to groups that traditionally vote Republican.

But Nunn was the leading Democrat to oppose President Clinton’s initial push to allow gays to openly serve in the military, and was a driving force behind the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise that is reviled in the gay community.

“As a gay person, if Obama was to choose Sam Nunn, I would be as horrified as a right-wing Republican would be if John McCain chose Gloria Steinem,” said Goldstein.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton), who’s also an openly gay Democratic delegate, said he’d prefer that Obama not pick Nunn, and doubts that he will. But it still wouldn’t stop him from supporting the ticket.

“I don’t think it would be an insult to the gay community. Barack has already demonstrated sympathy and empathy towards gays,” said Guisciora.

Still, Gusciora would be baffled if Obama chose Nunn.

“I just think that Nunn is not the break from change that we need, and he’s been off the scene for so long,” he said.

In all, there are eight Democratic delegates and alternates from New Jersey who are members of the LGBT community.